.- Fr. Federico Lombardi, the spokesman for the Vatican, has responded to the Taliban’s demand that the Pope condemn the violence of the coalition forces in Afghanistan by saying that all should work for the cause of peace. However, he noted that the kidnapping of innocent people is particularly worrisome.
The spokesman addressed the Holy Father’s appeal more specifically saying, “It is an appeal to all men and women of conscience who have respect for life, human dignity and the cause for peace.” Fr. Lombardi added, “He [the Holy Father] condemned the taking of hostages as an instrument of war.”
Fr. Federico also noted that, “the Pope’s is worried by the particularly hateful form of violence that is expressed by the taking of innocent hostages and their threatened death.” When this happens, “the horrible and vicious circle of hate and death is further aggravated.”
Afghan president Hamid Karzai has been under pressure to exchange Taliban militants that are in prison for the remaining 22 South Korean Christians who are being held by the Taliban. However, the government while continuing negotiations, is refusing to conduct an exchange. The Taliban killed a second hostage yesterday and has issued a deadline of 7:30 GMT Wednesday before they will kill more hostages.
Gen Tim Grant, who is the outgoing commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, said that the Taliban cannot be bargained with because “they will resort to anything to advance their agenda.”